Christmas: A Time to Decide

Colossians 1:27

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Christmas has changed over the years for me. In prior years, the commercial exchange of gifts took top priority. Today though, it has become more of a quiet, intentional, outreach time for a personal evangelical campaign.

I have also come to more appreciate the spirit of giving which still permeants throughout the season. People are more in a sharing and philanthropic mood as witness by many nonprofit charity campaigns raising the majority of their operating funds during this time of year.

From the Salvation Army Santa Claus standing by their red kettles ringing their bells, to Churches being full to capacity with family and friends coming together to hear at least one message about the Biblical Jesus Christ, I’ve now come to appreciate the season more for this prime reason. Christmas is a global reminder for everyone within the western and eastern world to take a minute and ask themselves the question, why is this Jesus important?

If you are a once a year church going member, then maybe you may have heard 20 to 60 messages in your lifetime about this Jesus who was born 2,000 years ago in a small Jewish town of Bethlehem. And maybe one of those messages led you to further investigate into his life. Somewhere along the line you came to the fork in the road where you had to decide. Is He who He claims to be or not? If so, am I willing to follow Him. If not, am I willing to accept the consequences of my actions?

Every person who breathes will have to make that decision. Yes, it is about making a choice. A commitment to follow a person who lived 2,000 years ago, started a movement with 12 unknowns that shaped a culture that keeps ticking and growing in the most unwelcome places throughout the centuries.

To believe God became man, lived among His creation for our benefit as a perfect human upholding all righteousness for our sake, dying, and then being resurrected with over 500 witnesses acknowledging this fact, and finally being lifted up into the heavens where He now lives being qualified as earth’s King, intervening for you and I before God, and just as mind blowing, His Spirit residing in you and I giving us His assurance and a taste of the heavenly delights of God’s character within us.

Totally unbelievable except proven over and over again by those who have surrendered to His Lordship. We, from all the saints in the 1st century to those of us today, have followed, tasted, and experienced the richness of living with the King every day. For some of us, it’s the great dance of life to have a relationship with the living God. For others, it’s simply to have a Father to lean on during those tough times. And for many, it may be a close, personal friend or brother to share life’s good and bad times.

Yes, Christmas is that time of year where God’s Spirit is on display for many to witness and decide whether or not Jesus Christ is who He claims to be. I for one am thankful for the decision to start following Him some fifty years ago. The knowledge, understanding, and wisdom obtained these years has gracefully changed over time as His Spirit lives within me and molds me into his character. This is one of many thoughts that I am reminded and thankful for this season of the year.  I hope you are too.    

Enjoy Christmas with your love ones! 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Christmas: Making All Things New

Revelation 21:5
And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

new1

Christmas means so much more for me than a celebration of the birth of Jesus. The reason for the season is an annual reminder that God is still moving his story toward a happy ending! With the Son of God, now wrapped by human flesh sitting on his throne in heaven, with the commission of making all things new, mankind has just begun to witness the fulfillment of God’s strategy of expanding his Kingdom throughout the universe.

The birth of Jesus in human skin is God’s universal plan to unite divinity with flesh. In Christ, we are reminded that all life is important; there is purpose and meaning behind every human; and real, sacrificial love is the answer.

When Peter spoke his first public sermon on the day of Pentecost, the same day the Holy Spirit made his public appearance, he quoted from the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.

As we look back in history these two thousand years, we witness the explosion of knowledge, sci-fi visions becoming reality, and advancements in the human domain where many nation’s largest challenges are not just feeding their people, but to provide avenues of education for each person to discover their purpose and potential in living a meaningful life.

We may disagree on methods, techniques, and strategy, but the God-centered life will continue to lay the foundation of common sense, place an extreme high value of life, and provide opportunities for others to discover the real meaning and purpose of life ordained from the foundation of the world.

Jesus Christ is on his throne and He is making all things new. He has purchased all humanity through his life, death, and resurrection. He is the only person who has demonstrated real leadership for the benefit of mankind as a whole. His heart wants all of us to partner with him in his work now and into eternity. But he will not force you to comply. He respects your free will, and wants you to know he is always there for you. He is rooting for you, and wants what is best for you.

He is making all things new and wants you to know you are included with him in his plans. So, celebrate the season, rejoice with Him, and let love always be your leading guide.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

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Copyright 2013-2018 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Christmas: The Relevancy of Jesus Christ

John 20:31
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.ESV.

A little more than two thousand years ago, a baby was born that would change human history. He grew up and started a movement without writing a book, running for political office,  leading an army, nor cornering the economic markets. He was born into an unpopular ethnic group, surrounded himself with people from all strata of society, and was controversial with his working peers. Yet today this man is the central figure of an international religion that integrates all nationalities, sexes, races, social, and political groups.

He still appears on magazine covers, books are still being written about him, and his story continues to be translated into multiple languages. His impact into the lives of people living today is an ongoing witness for unbelievers. Eventually you either acknowledge him or deny him in your life. You can only ignore him for so long.

For if HE is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, King of Kings and Lords of Lords of heaven and earth, and the Savior of all humanity, what does that mean for you and me? How would truly knowing that change your life? Your purpose? Your future? Your family? Your relationships? Your work?

When you see atheists research material to prove Him an imposter and then reach the conclusion He is who He claims to be, and when you read books by the saints of yesterday and the impact walking in the Spirit demonstrated then as it does now, you can only receive assurances that there is more to this Man-God that even the Bible explains.

So when you remove the commercialism of Christmas, the pageantry of the holidays, and the false illusion of Santa Claus, you come to realize with gratitude the awesome and graceful act of benevolence from a God who cares so much to become one of us. For if humanity was worth nothing more but the value of a rat or a dog or a horse, would they be worth redeeming?

He became one of us so we can become one of His.

So let’s celebrate Him for the reason of the season.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and friends!

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2013-2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Christmas: God Invades the Human Sphere

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us” I John 1:1-2 ESV.

jesus 21

What type of person would…
…empty themselves from the universe’s highest privileges to share life with the lowliest derelicts?
…remove themselves from a sure future into a situation where the risk of failure hangs heavy on one’s shoulders?
…walk away from eternal bliss into human depravity?

How about someone who cares?

He surrendered his rights, privileges, and eternal home by walking through heaven’s looking glass into our human dimension.

As a Man-God he experienced birth, hunger, and filled diapers as a baby. He learned to walk, run, and jump as a youth. He was educated in the Jewish culture, shared family chores with his siblings, and grew in stature/wisdom with God and his neighbors.

He studied the Scriptures. Even debated with the religious academia scholars as a 12 year old.

As the family eldest, he most likely ran the family carpentry business after his step-dad died.

He attended Jewish weddings, funerals, and Sabbath services in the synagogue.

Near the end of his life, he also learned first-hand about pain and suffering. He witnessed the cruelty of people harming people for personal gain. He personally saw the injustice around him. Every human experience you and I share, he experienced.

jesus 20His name is Jesus.

Christmas is not about a baby. It is not about exchanging gifts. It is not even a birthday party. Christmas is our reminder that Jesus Christ invaded our world, restored His claim on Earth, and included us to share in His domain now and forevermore.

Please don’t get caught up in the commercial trappings of Christmas. Instead let Jesus be the center and reason for the season.

And with that…Merry Christmas!!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Christmas: Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 ESV.

wise 1

God’s purpose is most often recognized and accomplished through people. Take the Biblical narrative of the Magi in search of the new king at his birth.

These Eastern religious leaders knew from their own prophesies that when certain events took place, a child would be born whom the world will one day receive as their king.

This event took place when Jesus was born to a newly married, young Jewish couple, Joseph & Mary.

When the Magi finally completed their journey in search of the newborn, they arrived approximately zero to two years after the birth of Jesus. They found the family residing in a house and not the manger where Jesus was born.

As a gift to the newborn king, they presented him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The gifts accomplished a twofold purpose.

One, it gave recognition that the child was special. Gold was the royal gift given to kings; frankincense recognized the priestly divinity of a person; and myrrh pictured the future embalmed savior of the world. All these expensive gifts foretold the child’s destiny.

Secondly, God knew that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would need to flee Jerusalem because of King Herod’s perverted decree to kill all the young under two years of age. So He made the arrangement giving Joseph the necessary resources to pay for their travel. The family now could easily finance their trip to Egypt and await King Herod’s demise. In fact, exchanging the frankincense and myrrh for cash probably help establish their new home and business in Nazareth upon their return.

God has a way to workout events before we realize there is a need. He blesses us through the events and circumstances we face each day so that His purpose will ultimately be accomplished. Most often these blessing come via people. And the people God works through may not even be of the same faith, nationality, or race. We witness that with the Magi.

Remember, Christmas is not about the gifts. It is simply man’s limited attempt to recognize the world’s greatest Giver. The Triune God. And wise people still seek Him today!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

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Christmas: Celebrating the Arrival of The King

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 ESV.

king 1

Non-Jewish religious leaders from the east came looking for the new King. (Tradition always seems to show three. However the Bible says wise men without ever mentioning the number.) Their own teaching prophesied the coming of a new baby who would one day rule the world. When they arrived to Jerusalem looking for the child, the local ruler asked the Jewish leaders where the Messiah was to be born. They replied quoting the prophecy written approximately 700 year earlier from the Book of Micah that he would come from Bethlehem. Therefore, these wise men traveled to the village and found the child with mother in a home. There they showered the child with gifts in honor and respect to the new king.

Again at the end of Jesus’ life, Pontius Pilate referred to Jesus as a King and committed him to the capital punishment of death on the cross. His legal crime written for the public to witness was “King of the Jews.”

Jesus Christ was born and initially died for being a king. As he taught and Scripture reveals, he came to be King, his servants didn’t recognize him, and he left with the expectation of one day returning to fully establish his kingdom.

Christmas is a time to celebrate the arrival of humanity’s king. The Man-God. The first born of a new humanity. He is no longer a baby but a fully, empowered living eternal being who qualified to be our King. For many of us living in a democratic republic, the concept of having a king is ambiguous at best. However, when one acknowledges Jesus as Lord, one begins to fully live-out the relationship of a king with his servants. To live under a benevolent ruler makes many hunger for his return. For the many in today’s world who are upset with the current governmental leaders who fall far short from their promises, hope and a better world is around the corner.

Therefore, let’s celebrate this Christmas with joy and gratitude for all to see that we await the return of our King. The hope of mankind.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

Christmas: Sacrificial Love

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:19 ESV.

love 31

If God became man, what would he look like? A mighty warrior with the largest army in the world? A famous person with Hollywood looks? A politician with charm and charisma? A king with vast wealth and resources?

Would you believe he already came in the flesh as the man Jesus Christ of Nazareth? Josephus, a Jewish, non-believer historian during Christ’s life wrote in his book that this man did mighty works. We are told in the Book of Colossians that the fullness of God dwelt with Jesus Christ. We read as his followers described him “a light in the world.” Other eye-witness accounts responded by emphasizing the miracles he performed that included feeding multitudes and healing deadly diseases. Others spoke about him resurrecting the dead. Then others showcased his ability to teach with moral parables that left the audience spellbound.

What the majority of writers emphasized was the unique heart of the man. He knew the evilness found in human nature. Yet he also knew the power of God to transform.

He touched the lives of the most undesirables of his time. He loved to celebrate life demonstrated through the parties and social events he attended. He surrounded himself with men and women who were not of noble birth or educationally valued. Instead he chose to surround himself with a smorgasbord of people who probably would never associate with one another if it wasn’t because of him.

Like most people who make a difference in life, his story didn’t fully bloom until after his death. There were over 500 witnesses who gave the testimony that they seen him alive after his crucifixion. He appeared and disappeared among his students and followers. His own brothers disbelieved him prior to his resurrection but changed their tune afterwards. His life was more than just being a moral teacher. The people who knew him came to the realization that he was and is who he claimed to be: The Messiah.

His life is a model of what love looks like in human form. He didn’t self-promote himself. He simply denied himself to serve His Father God. He practiced and taught what sacrificial love looks like. From washing his disciples feet to dying an undeserving death, Jesus Christ showed us what God looks like in the flesh. This Christmas is simply our feeble attempt to remember what his life means to you and me. Let’s celebrate it with him, through him, and for him. Besides, isn’t he the reason for the season?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!